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    Q530: I have been given a fixed penalty notice by the Police and I have noticed that there is a mistake on it (e.g. wrong date or time), is it still legally enforceable?

    A fixed penalty notice is a conditional offer to an alleged offender for them to have the matter dealt with in a set way without resorting to going to court. It is conditional in that the offence committed falls within the remit of the fixed penalty system and that the alleged offender fits the criteria i.e. would not be liable to disqualification under totting up procedures and is willing to surrender their licence if the matter is endorsable.

    The acceptance of the ticket gives the alleged offender options and if they feel that for any reason either then or at a later stage that they wish to contest the matter, they can by completing the requisite parts of the form to request a court hearing.

    The fact that the time and date may be wrong is not necessarily a bar to proceedings continuing and it would be for the court to decide if those matters seriously affected the alleged offender's right to a fair hearing.

    It may also be worth writing to the appropriate office (details on back of ticket) setting out the reasons why you think the ticket should be made void prior to you officially challenging it. If the ticket has been given out by the local authority and you are not happy with their reply then there is an ombudsman who will review such cases.

    It is also important to note that even if it is found that the ticket is invalid then this does not mean an end to the matter. All it means is that, if appropriate, the police can proceed by issuing a summons for court. The alleged offender will not then be able to take advantage of the fixed penalty system and if found guilty at court will have a criminal conviction. It is advisable to take legal advice from a lawyer prior to making any decision on this matter.

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